NYC Multifamily Solar Guide Released
The newly-released New York City Multifamily Solar Guide* provides guidance from a consortium of experts on considerations faced by co-op and condo boards when examining solar.
Some key takeaways include:
- Solar works in NYC. As of March 2015, the city has more than 45 megawatts of solar installed, enough to power 6,500 homes.
- Solar systems on multifamily buildings can pay for themselves in 5-10 years at current incentive levels, sometimes less, while solar panel power production warranties typically last 25 years – many panels function for 30+ years.
- Solar systems can often be financed for $0 down, either through a loan or third-party ownership via a lease or power purchase agreement.
- Current incentives and tax credits can reduce the out-of-pocket costs by 80%. The process of monetizing state and federal tax credits is more complicated for co-ops and condos than for single-family homes or private management companies, so a tax attorney should be consulted.
- Incentives and tax credits are scheduled to decline in the coming years, so it can pay to install solar today rather than waiting for further price declines or technological advances.
- The electric rate categorization, or utility tariff, of your building’s electric meter will significantly impact the potential savings and payback of solar. Solar does not typically reduce demand charges.
- Going solar can be a complex process for co-ops and condos because of board decision making and the challenge of monetizing tax credits – be prepared for ups and downs, but the economic and environmental payoffs can be well worth it.
- Solar can be combined with energy efficiency to reduce the size of a solar system needed to offset your building’s energy usage or to maximize the impact of your investment.
* The guide was produced by a group led by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and the NYC Economic Development Corporation, and coordinated by Sustainable CUNY as part of the U.S Department of Energy SunShot Initiative.